Founder of Freedom Farms, Policy Director

A.J. Cooper has realized what a lot of folks have not—that poverty, pollution and unhealthy food are all connected to an urban community's upward mobility and ability to thrive. He’s one of the leaders of the urban sustainability revolution that are using locally-owned and operated aquaponics farming to deliver low-cost healthy food to D.C. residents who wouldn’t normally have access to it.

What’s aquaponics you ask? It’s a dope system of farming that uses waste water produced by farmed fish to fertilize plants and vegetables within the same system—it’s a symbiotic circle of life. A.J. Cooper’s green revolution is about creating a new way of life.

“With a steadfast belief that by producing competitively priced, pesticide-, hormone- and GMO-free fruits, vegetables, and fish, we can eliminate food deserts, create sustainable careers for urban residents, and educate communities on a healthier way of living,” says Cooper. 

Because of his belief and desire to see the hoods of D.C. and beyond thrive, Cooper created Freedom Farms D.C., a locally owned and operated commercial aquaponic grower. His mission is two-fold: To provide chemical- and pesticide-free food to the Washington, D.C. metro area, and to employ folks from low-income communities and give them wealth building opportunities. A byproduct of his green-social entrepreneurship? A significant reduction in carbon emissions in the hood.

“I am a product of D.C. Public Schools. This is my city. Since I was a little boy I made the promise to myself that I would make this city a better place for the people who need help the most. Freedom Farms is part of keeping that promise. Connecting residents to sustainability solutions in ways that make their everyday lives happier, healthier and more prosperous is my mission.”